Hello, when CSN stores contacted me about doing another review, I was quite happy because I've done one for them before and had a great experience working with them. This time, I had $65 to work with. I was able to get two useful things! I was not paid to do this review and offer my honest opinion on the matter. The products were sent to me for free for the purpose of reviewing.
For starters, I chose Goodhope Bags Travelwell Big Bear Backpack in Grey. One reason I picked this product is because I just have an old, worn-out, lumpy bag that I carry my stuff in. (I don't use a purse and stick my wallet and other items in that bag-stacks of library books because I'm a writer and am constantly researching.)
I take the bus and was looking for something comfortable that held items in separate sections for my trek home each evening from my day job.
First the stats:
*It's made of sturdy canvas.
*It's natural and biodegradable.
*The dimensions are: 15"H x 11"W x 6"D (Which can hold a big stack of library books in the main compartment!) It's lined and has a drawstring closure and a flap over the top with a buckle.
*There are twin zip pockets (great place to put my house keys-no more digging blindly into the bottom of my bag), dual side pockets, one for a water bottle, or in my case, a coffee cup, and the other for a phone. Yeah, I can now easily find my stuff!
*The padded straps are adjustable, and in Colorado's constantly changing weather, that's a good thing. We have to layer our clothing in this beautiful state, so this backpack will fit over a tee shirt or a coat.
My impressions: I like the neutral color and the size, not too big, and not too small for someone like me who goes nowhere without her research books. Also, it looks pretty cool, a.k.a. attractive, with a symmetrical design.
I put it on, hoping to find it comfortable because I don't want it digging into my shoulders or anything. Discomfort would be a major reason not to use it. I was relieved to find that it sat over my shoulders okay, and with the adjustable straps, I can have a nice, snug fit.
It seems pretty durable, and I'll put that to the test, dragging it around for months and months, stuffed full, as I walk in all kinds of weather and set it next to me on the city bus. My guess is that it will last.
It's lightweight, which is good, because I intend to load it up and don't need unnecessary heaviness inherent in the design.
I would recommend this product.
Now, on to the next thing I was able to get:
I wanted to try the Lamo Ladies 9" Fleece Boots in Chestnut because I live in Colorado, and even though we have 300 days a year of sunshine here, it can get pretty cold in the winter.
Here are the stats for this product:
*It's a mid-length boot, 9" tall, coming to the middle of the calf. (This is handy here. Our snow melts so fast here, but I'll find myself walking to the bus stop in small piles of it. At this height, the boots will keep my feet dry and won't slip inside at the ankle, giving me wet socks.)
*The upper part is soft suede. (I'll need to treat them with some weather-proofing spray to protect it from moisture, but they'll definitely keep my feet warm.)
*It has a lightly padded collar and raised stitching seams, not exactly making them fashion boots, but adding some interest just the same.
*The cushioned insole works for me.
*I enjoy the fluffy sheepskin lining. Walking around in them is quite comfortable. (Comfort is important to me with all that walking I do, and these are wide enough to give my feet breathing space and allow for thick, winter socks. I went to beauty school when I was in my twenties and know what uncomfortable footwear does to the feet-no thank you!)
*The boots come in several colors. I chose the chestnut because I don't have chestnut. It's a neutral color and won't look funny with my coat.
The boots come in whole sizes. I'm an 8 1/2, so I went up instead of down. The wiggle room will allow for the thick socks I wear in the winter. I expected them to be a little loose, having ordered size 9 instead of size 8, and when I tried them on, they were just what I expected. They'd be too loose without thick socks though.
They are wide, which works for me personally. They might be too wide if you have narrow feet.
These things seem durable and should last a while. The cushioning is great and appreciated from someone who values comfort (and remembers her days doing pedicures in a salon.)
They're flexible in the ankle area and not exactly stylish, but they're practical and will do what they're meant to do.
I'd recommend these boots for cold weather that isn't too wet, unless you treat them first with weatherproofing spray. The nice suede might stain otherwise, but the thickness is sure to keep feet toasty warm while comforting them in the springy inner lining.
They're not meant to complement an attractive outfit and are rather plain, but that's not their point. I can put my work shoes in that great backpack I reviewed and change out of these boots into my other shoes. It's so convenient.